What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is an informal process to resolve your divorce without court.  Mediation has advantages.    It is typically less expensive and it is private.  Mediation can be binding or nonbinding.  Binding means that you have given up the right to have a judge decide your case.  Whatever the mediator says goes.  Nonbinding mediation means that you can agree or disagree.  if you disagree, you can still have a trial with a judge.

Will I have to go to court for my divorce?

On of the parties is required to state the jurisdictional requirements on the record to get a divorce.  Typically the plaintiff (the person that filed) takes the testimony before a judge.

What if I cannot locate my spouse?

You can still get a divorce even if you cannot locate your spouse.  You will need to serve the complaint on your spouse by alternate service.   Typically a divorce complaint is hand delivered to inform the spouse of the divorce.  The process of alternate service involves publish notice and sending registered mail to their last known address.  After alternate service, you can get a divorce.

How long does it take to get divorced?

In Michigan, there is a minimum waiting period of 60 days to get a divorce if you do not have children.  There is a minimum waiting period of 6 months if you have minor children.  These are minimums not maximums.  In Michigan all divorces are to be concluded within 12 months of filing.  This would include a trial if needed.  The exact length depends of the court schedule and the parties involved.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

The cost of divorce can very depending on a number of factors.  First, the complexity of the case.  The more complex the case, the more expense the case will be to complete.  Second, the amount of disagreement and general fighting.  The more fighting, the more expensive the case will cost.  Every time an attorney works on the case, it costs money.  Lastly, the billing practices of the lawyer.  Typically larger law firms charge higher rates and bill for everything including copies and postage.   It is extremely important to monitor how much you are spending and not let emotions get the best of you.

What are the procedures for a divorce?

The divorce process in Michigan is straight forward.  A divorce starts with the filing of a divorce complaint.  The complaint is a document filed with the court that states basic facts about your divorce such as names of the parties, names of children, and residency requirements.  An answer to the complaint is typically filed stating that the defendant agrees or disagrees with the statement.

Next, a temporary order is typically entered by the court.  It states the parties rights and obligations until the case is over.  It includes use of a home, use of cars, custody, child support, spousal support, and other issues between the parties.

After the waiting period, a divorce judgment is prepared which states the parties final rights and obligations.  It will state who is awarded what property an debts.  It will include all child custody, parenting time, and support issues.  The judgment is entered whit a pro con hearing that confirms the terms of the judgment and jurisdictional requirements.  This is the basic uncontested divorce.  If the case is contested, there is additional steps.

What is an uncontested divorce?

A divorce in which no terms of the divorce judgment are contested or disputed is an uncontested divorce.  Effectively you agree on everything.  Uncontested divorces in Michigan are usually fast and inexpensive to complete.  There is still a 60 day waiting period without children and a 6 month waiting period with children.

What is a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce means that you do not have to prove fault to get a divorce.  Before 1972, in Michigan you were required to prove fault to get a divorce.  Effectively you were required to stay married unless someone was at fault for the breakdown of your marriage.  No-fault divorce eliminates the requirement of proving fault.  IN Michigan you can get a divorce by stating there has been a breakdown of my marriage relationship.